Nine days before Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao are scheduled to meet in boxing's richest fight, tickets for the arena and closed-circuit locations at MGM Resorts International properties along the Las Vegas Strip will finally go on sale Thursday after promoters Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions and the MGM signed the site contract.
"It was a battle, but finally everybody came together," Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, told ESPN.com on Wednesday night.
The problems among Mayweather Promotions, Top Rank and the MGM over ticket distribution to the May 2 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena threatened to blow up the long-anticipated bout between boxing's two best fighters that was five-plus years in the making.
The issues were ironed out during a Wednesday morning conference call involving Arum, Top Rank president Todd duBoef, Mayweather adviser Al Haymon and Leslie Moonves, the president and CEO of CBS Corp., which has a contract with Mayweather.
"Then they finally sent over a draft reflecting the deal we had agreed to, and it was absolutely 100 percent what we had agreed to," Arum said. "But it didn't come over until 6 p.m. [PT], and by 7 p.m. we had reviewed everything and signed."
Two hours later, the specifics were announced by news release.
Tickets for the MGM Grand Garden Arena are priced at $7,500, $5,000, $3,500, $2,500 and $1,500, not including applicable service charges, and will go on sale at 3 p.m. ET Thursday via Ticketmaster. They are limited to four per household. There are also $10,000 tickets, but they are not among the roughly 500 tickets being made available to the public out of the roughly 16,000 tickets.
The rest of the tickets are controlled by Mayweather Promotions, Top Rank and the MGM Grand, which will distribute the tickets -- which everyone has to pay for -- to their customers, the fighter camps, the fight sponsors, HBO and Showtime (who are putting on the joint pay-per-view), and the brokers with which they do business. A flood of tickets can be expected on the secondary market later Thursday.
Most fans who travel to Las Vegas to take in fight-week festivities will wind up watching at closed-circuit locations along the Strip. As many as 50,000 closed-circuit tickets will be available, but in Las Vegas, the closed-circuit viewing is exclusive to the various MGM-owned properties, which include the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Bellagio, Aria, Monte Carlo, Mirage, New York New York and Luxor, among others.
Closed-circuit tickets will be $150, not including handling fees, and will go on sale at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. Tickets will be available for purchase at the individual property's box office outlets, by phone or through Ticketmaster outlets. Closed-circuit tickets are limited to eight per household.
"This has been a very complex event, and we are pleased to have resolved the outstanding issues," said Richard Sturm, president of entertainment and sports for MGM Resorts International. "We look forward to delivering an incredible event weekend, like only Las Vegas can."
The MGM Grand Garden Arena is scaled to generate approximately $74 million in ticket sales, more than three times the gate record.
According to Arum, the hang-up in getting the deal signed was that there were a number of issues that were agreed to in the contracts between Mayweather Promotions and Top Rank, including the distribution of tickets. However, Arum said that when Top Rank received the site agreement -- another contract between Mayweather Promotions, Top Rank and the MGM Grand -- elements of it were contradictory to what had been agreed to between the promotional companies in their previously signed agreements with each other.
Arum said he felt Haymon and the MGM were conspiring against him and trying to take more tickets than they were entitled to under the deal that Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions signed in February.
"We were resolute that we were going to hold on to everything we had negotiated with Mayweather Promotions and they weren't going to use the relationship with MGM to deprive us of our rights," Arum said. "Ultimately, that's how the deal was made. We protected Manny and ourselves, and we weren't asking for anything we didn't negotiate. We had a deal with Mayweather Promotions, and then they used the MGM to try to erode our rights. And we stood steadfast and we wouldn't let that happen, and finally we made a deal, a correct deal, and the fight is going ahead. It's as simple as that.
"We weren't going to allow anyone to push us around. We didn't want more than we were entitled to or want anything extra. We wanted everyone to live up to the deal we made. I have to really commend my guys for standing firm, and I want to thank Les Moonves for being a rational person and poised through this whole thing and for not letting us be pushed around."
Moonves also was instrumental in bringing Arum and Haymon, bitter enemies, to the bargaining table to make the fight.
Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe did not respond to messages seeking comment.